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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where's Heather?

Being a substitute in a group exercise class is WAY different than being a sub in a regular classroom. When you're a school sub, the kids are happy because they know they don't have to do as much work. They might even get to watch a movie. Sure, they might switch names and ridicule you but the fact is, they are glad to see you.

When I sub an exercise class, especially one that is usually taught by a popular instructor, I am greeted with an angry mob. "Where's Heather?" members used to say back when I started teaching in the mid 21st century. And it wasn't like, "Where's Heather?" with an upbeat, curious tone. It was like, "Where the hell is Heather? What have you done with her? Why aren't you Heather? Nobody can possibly teach this class but Heather!"

I used to say, "I don't know where Heather is. I'm Elsa. Today you have Elsa. And we are going to have fun and work hard. Now get on your effing spin bike before I run over you with this one." Okay, maybe I didn't say that last sentence. But I thought it.

Then I would have to work to win them over. I usually could make them forget about Heather within the first 15 minutes. I know because you can just tell from their faces if they're into it or not. And at the end of the class, some of them would come up and make a point to say they liked it. They would seriously be surprised like their minds were blown that anyone else besides Heather can teach spin. Still, there were always some who felt like they would be cheating on Heather if they enjoyed another spin class. Or if I did things a little bit different from Heather (which I probably did because, as I informed them at the beginning, I was not Heather), they just can't accept it.

There's a Heather at every gym. I'll call our current Heather "Tracy." If possible, I think Tracy is more popular at this gym than Heather was at the other one. The first time I subbed for Tracy I hadn't met her yet.  I heard warnings from other instructors, "Good luck. That's a tough crowd." One instructor told me she refused to even sub her classes anymore because the people were so hard to please. Then I heard things from members: "Tracy is so awesome! Tracy is the best! Oh, we just love Tracy!"

So when I showed up to sub: "Where's Tracy?" they asked, giving me the evil eye. I gave them the same response I gave for Heather's absence and one girl said, "I figured she wasn't here. If Tracy was here there would be a line out the door right now."

Then there was all this chatter about Tracy and where she was and most people knew because they're BFFs with her in real life or just on Facebook. "Oh, Tracy had so much fun last night! That's why she's not here today. Tracy is so crazy!" I think maybe there were some tears that she wasn't there. One guy, in particular, was obviously a Tracy devotee and he asked, "Are we going to burn 700 calories like we do in Tracy's class?"

"I guess that's up to you," I told him.

He was totally checked out during class, checking his phone, not doing the stretches, leaving every few minutes to do I-don't-know-what (take a call? get water? pray for Tracy's safe return?) He definitely did not burn 700 calories that day. Maybe 70.

Finally, I had the great honor of meeting Tracy. I knew immediately why everyone loves her.

She's totally hot.

Sure, she's a great, super peppy instructor but let's be honest, that's not why people (especially the men like Mr. 700 Calories) are clamoring for a bike in her class.

But good news: After I subbed for Tracy that one time, she asked if I could fill in for her again. "You got good feedback," she said. I'm ashamed to say how thrilled I was to have won over the Tracy followers.

So I subbed again, this time for a different day and time. At first there was only one person in the class. I asked her if the class was usually full and she said that it was.  She told me, "Most of the people in here are Tracy's friends so she probably texted them all and told them she wouldn't be here." Really?

Now I'm not sure if that's true but I DO think a lot of her regulars knew she wasn't going to be there and didn't show. Again I ask, Don't you think it's possible that SOMEBODY else can teach spin? In fact, I'll take it a step further: Don't you think it might be GOOD to take an exercise class from someone besides Tracy every now and then? Sort of change things up?

My message is this: If your regular instructor isn't there, just be glad somebody is there. Give them a chance. Give them a smile, even. If they have to teach a different format, that's okay too. Your body likes change. I know, I know. You LOVE Heather. You LOVE Tracy. But you can love Elsa too.

And as much as I hate to hear it when I sub, I secretly hope my subs are getting a good dose of "Where's Elsa?"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Are you ready for some football?

I think the Longhorns could use this little guy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gus' First Day of Preschool and Leo's Last First Day of Preschool

Finally, we had our First Day of School! With the explosion of social media, I have to see all the other FDOS of school pictures for WEEKS before our school started. But I'm not complaining. I am glad we are still in the sweet little church preschool and not yet in the claws of the public school system. None of us were ready! 

Leo is in the "Wolves" class this year. That is the Pre-K class with some kids who are being held back from Kindergarten (like Leo) and some who will turn five this fall. There are twelve boys and three girls. He will go four days a week (Tuesday thru Friday) from 9-2. 

In the days leading up to school Leo was pretty cool about it. He has a history of school anxiety so I was glad he didn't seem worried when we talked about it. He even ran into the building with a classmate today. But when we actually walked in his room, he became withdrawn. I'd love to tell you how his day went but he's a boy and he tells me NOTHING. All I got was that he liked music and that they did too many things on the playground for him to tell me and that he was tired of talking. 

Gus is in the "Bears" class for two-year-olds. I think his class is pretty even between girls and boys. There are ten of them. Gus will go two days a week (Tuesday and Thursdays) from 9-2. 

Gus had no nervousness leading up to school. When I'd say, "Who is going to school?" he'd say, "I do!" He walked in, he played, he sat at the table. The teachers said he had a "beautiful first day." That was nice of them to say because on the written report it said "I made" and they had circled "poo poo." I would not call Gus' BMs beautiful. Oh, and he did not sleep during nap time but he did crash when we got home. 

So here is a picture dump of our first day! 

Hope they don't expect little notes every day. 

Leo loved showing Gus how to wear his backpack.

Of course, Leo wanted to make silly faces.

Even on school days Leo delivers the newspaper to Ms. Sue.

Oops, Gus toppled over from the weight of his backpack. I snapped this before helping him. Cruel?

I see you!

Gus got right to work.

Do you see Leo in the wolf pack? He's on the top row in the middle.

It looks like he's being sweet but he's actually hogging all the toys and the girl next to him is mad. "He's taking all the purple ones!!"

We go back again tomorrow for Leo's class. I have a feeling Leo will not want to and Gus will!

Monday, September 09, 2013

A Darndest Conversation

Me: You've been to Daddy's office, right? I haven't even seen it. Was it cool?

Leo: Yes, and there are pictures of me and Gus.

Me: There aren't any pictures of me?

Leo: No, he really loves me and Gus.

Me: He loves me too.

Leo: But he loves us the most.

Me: But I've known him longer.

Leo: He loves us because we're so cute. You're too big to be cute.

So I just had to jot that down somewhere before I forgot it. Later, Leo tried to make me feel better by saying, "He loves you too. You're just not in any pictures."

I think the problem is that I'm always the one taking the pictures!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Bye bye, Le-low

I'm not sure when Gus started saying his brother's name but ever since he could, he's called him "Le-low" (rhymes with Yellow). We all started calling him "Le-low" actually. But last week, when we were in Friendswood and Galveston visiting grandparents, Gus suddenly started saying "Lee-Oh." We first heard it when they would sleep in the same room together. Gus would stand up in his Pack n Play and look at Leo in his bed and yell, "Lee-Oh!!" 

Worth noting: Gus learned to walk on this same trip to Friendswood/Galveston last year at the same time. It's a milestone kind of place I guess. Frank and I were a little bit sad to hear the end of "Le-low" but it would be weird if he said that forever. 

So here you go, listen for yourself! 

And here are some pictures from our trip!

Gus and Leo with Grandpa Ron and Grandmother

We love to go to the Kemah Boardwalk when we visit and ride all the rides! Here is Gus on the carousel.

Leo on the Red Baron

Leo with "Spooky Looky," the prize he won. That was easy to get home!

Leo and Gus at the Splash Pad at the Pearland YMCA

Gus being silly at the beach house in Galveston

 Gus walking with Granny Jo and Popsy

 Leo ready to ride the waves

The cousins loved flying kites!

Movie night: Charlie, Ellie, LEE-OH and Gus